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Toronto-based Staples Business Depot, a division of Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc., began using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track inventory in May. Besides tagging thousands of items with RFID labels, the intelliTRACKER from AbsoluteSKY, a Montreal-based company that provides RFID technology, and a strategic partner of Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, is helping Staples track merchandise in real time as it enters a store’s inventory system, is positioned on store shelves and is purchased at the point of sale.

The solution also monitors on-hand inventory, automates receiving, and reports inventory status changes, zone differentiation and shrink reduction. The visible RFID tags are physically detached when the item is sold, so Staples can reuse them.

“This is clearly a significant installation in our inventory management improvement initiative,” said Joe Soares, director, process engineering at Staples Business Depot. “We expect a positive return on investment and the ability to improve inventory visibility and customer service.”

Jack in the Box Inc., based in San Diego, is licensing Lawson Software’s Employee and Manager Self-Service and ProcessFlow Integrator applications to enhance operational efficiencies and employee service.

An existing customer of the St. Paul, Minn.-based software company, Jack in the Box is using the solutions to manage payroll and streamline benefits administration for employees across the company’s corporate and regional offices, distribution centers, more than 2,000 quick-service restaurants and its 50 Quick Stuff convenience stores.

Rather than use a paper-based process to manage its annual employee-benefits enrollment program and distribute paychecks across the vast organization, the new applications automates these processes. Employees use a PC or in-store kiosk to manage their individual human resources information.

With the system, costly paper paychecks will be replaced with plastic cards that employees can use as debit cards and redeem for cash at local banks. The transition will reduce administrative costs associated with printing, cutting and distributing paper paychecks.

In May, The Return Exchange, Irvine Calif., received the Innovative Software award for its Return Rewards solution at AeA’s 14th Annual High-Tech Innovation Awards. The program honors Southern California’s top innovators in technology and education in Orange County and the Inland Empire. AeA, a high-tech trade association, sponsored the event.

The Return Exchange’s Return Rewards software system provides customized coupons that encourage consumers to continue shopping in the store once a return is complete, retailers can “create customer loyalty at the return counter while significantly increasing gross sales,” said Mark Hammond, chairman and CEO of The Return Exchange.